‘Prior beefs’ in fo­cus at John­son mur­der trial

Clos­ing ar­gu­ments see shift­ing of blame among co-ac­cused

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PADDON

Did any of the four men charged with the first-de­gree mur­der of Tyler John­son have a “prior beef ” with the McMaster Univer­sity engi­neer­ing stu­dent that could have played a role in his death?

The Crown and de­fence each pointed to a dif­fer­ent al­leged killer they say ap­peared to have had prior deal­ings with John­son dur­ing clos­ing ar­gu­ments Tues­day.

As­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Kathy Malkovich said Bran­don Bar­reira had been in­volved in a Hess Vil­lage scuf­fle with 30-year-old John­son two months prior to his killing out­side a King Street West pita shop in the early hours of Nov. 30, 2013 after he had been out with friends for the night.

But Bar­reira’s de­fence coun­sel, Jor­dana Goldlist, told the sev­en­man and seven-woman jury that it was Chad David­son who ap­peared to have some “prior beef” with John­son based on tes­ti­mony and sur­veil­lance video footage dis­play­ing their in­ter­ac­tion that even­ing.

Broth­ers Bran­don and Josh Bar­reira, David­son, and Louis Re­belo all face first-de­gree mur­der charges in con­nec­tion with John­son’s death.

One thing Malkovich and Goldlist agree on is the al­leged shooter.

Both main­tain David­son, who was 34 at the time of his ar­rest in Fe­bru­ary 2014, shot John­son, based on sur­veil­lance video footage from the scene.

“But that shooter did not act alone,” Malkovich added.

She said court has heard po­lice re­sponded to a fight in Hess on Sept. 28 in­volv­ing John­son, Bran­don Bar­reira and a cou­ple of oth­ers.

“This prior al­ter­ca­tion may es­tab­lish a pos­si­ble mo­tive,” Malkovich said.

But she added: “At the end of the day, we may never truly know why the ac­cused mur­dered Tyler John­son.”

But the Crown al­leges the ac­cused knew what they were do­ing. “This was a planned and de­lib­er­ate mur­der.”

Goldlist ar­gued this is not the case for Bran­don Bar­reira, who she says is in­no­cent.

“It doesn’t make sense that you would wait to set­tle some long-stand­ing re­venge for two months.”

Goldlist al­leged it was David­son who had a “prior beef ” with John­son based on what can be seen on video sur­veil­lance footage of scene out­side the pita shop.

After ex­it­ing the restau­rant, John­son tried to punch David­son be­fore he pulled out the gun and shot him in the chest, she said.

“Why is Tyler swing­ing at Chad un­less there was prior … beef be­tween them?” Goldlist asked.

“There’s some prior beef that un­for­tu­nately none of us can point to.”

All four men took notes Tues­day dur­ing the Crown’s clos­ing ar­gu­ments.

The Bar­reira broth­ers sat to­gether in the cen­tre pris­on­ers’ box, with David­son and Re­belo in tem­po­rary pris­on­ers’ boxes on ei­ther side of them.

Court re­sumes Wed­nes­day, when de­fence coun­sel rep­re­sent­ing the other ac­cused are ex­pected to close their cases.

Tyler John­son was shot in 2013

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